Thursday, September 20, 2007

My expierience with Homelessness

I had this guy come up to me on three different occasions with 3 different stories when I was living in Norman, Okla. First he was an NBA player who locked his keys in his car. The second time he was "just passing through" with his wife and she left him at a gas station and took the kids. The third time he must have seen my living room light on at 2 in the morning and came and knocked on my door asking for Jim, who "used to live here." then proceeded to tell me how he was out of gas... he never recognized me.

I once let a homeless kid live with me for about 3 weeks while he got a job and a place. he went to church with me. I even drove him to Cracker Barrel for a job interview. He got the job, rented a little place and I never saw him again.

There was a guy who worked the light right by my job (in Norman, at Jiffy Lube). He told everyone that he was out of gas, at the end of the day he would drive off in his fairly new honda civic.... never saw him put a drop in it. He came in to my work once to ask me for gas money. I told my boss I was going to take my lunch break, proceeded to grab a gas can and told him I would go across the street and get him 2 gallons of gas. He said he didn't want to "trouble me for that" about 3 times... I called his bluff, but if I were him I would have taken it anyway.

I thought I had grown desensitized to beggars when I was living in Alaska. There was about a 1/1 ratio of homeless people in my neighborhood. In fact, I'm pretty sure I met more homeless people than otherwise. They were all headlong in a downward spiral of begging for money just to get a fix, whether it was weed, alcohol, or just cigarettes. I came upon a stabbing once, at the corner where they seemed to congregate (it was also a bus stop). They were always either drunk or high, or terribly put out. My roommate began using a preemptive strategy to fend off their petitions by asking THEM if they had any money.

I feel bad for people who are down on their luck. I've been there myself (please see International Roadtrip blog below). I do feel good when I help homeless people, but I don't give them money. (Okay, there was that one guy in Las Vegas, he was very persuasive. Besides, he reminded me a lot of Dave Chappelle's character "Tyrone", and I think we would all pay to meet him.) Usually I will buy them meals if they are hungry, or give them things they can use.

About 3 weeks ago I was walking home from work and decided to ride the bus (I worked long nights, so it was worth 2.50 to ride that day.) I got off at my stop and about half a block later there was a homeless man eating breakfast on the lawn of the courthouse, He smiled and waved. I approached him and gave him my transfer ticket ( I always get them, for that reason.) He said "God bless you." and it made my day.

There's a crazy guy who lives on the library steps (I dunno where he goes at night but he's there all day) and he has stopped me a couple of times and talked my ear off. He never asks for money. In fact, he claims to own the library (or whatever building he happens to be parked in front of, as my friends have spoken to him elsewhere) and he says he's a millionaire. He used to own Puma shoes but sold the company to ("what the **** was her name.....") Liz Claiborne. He invented a soda can that saved pepsi millions in production by simply aerating the aluminum with micro-bubbles to cut down on material. the guy is a pathological liar, very smart because he can talk about anything and sound like he knows it in and out.

I'm planning on making a documentary of him sometime soon. I will buy him a nice meal (red lobster or something) buy him a new suit and get him a haircut and sit him down for an interview with the camera. In fact, it's been a while since I spoke to him, maybe I'll go catch up with him today.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Server's Lament - Mobile Post

I grin and bear your uppity lip, and in the end you keep my tip. I know you're not ignorant, I'm serving you to pay my rent. You bought your meal, you got your meal. When you don't tip you steal. You got your fill and skipped out on the bill-the one for the services I render, payable in legal tender. Maybe you didn't realize I am unable to earn a living when you hog my table. Please make way for PAYING customers, ones that open up their purse. Pocket change left on the check really makes me want to wring your neck. I was right on hand with that orange carafe, to warm your morning brew of decaf. I guess you don't appreciate getting served without a wait.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Mobile Post

You are my sunshine. That is to say, my world revolves around you and you're a million miles away.

Monday, September 10, 2007

No going back...

I'm trying to be there for her. But she's trying to escape her crying reality. She is crying.
I am caught between trying to console her with words and letting her let it all out, somehow "there, there now" just doesn't seem adequate. I'm completely inept. This is not something you can practice for. I feel less effective than her pillow might be at a time like this. I'm afraid to hold her because she is breathing so vehemently, I don't know what do, I can't hold her tight, for fear of constricting her lungs. I can't tell her everything will be alright, because everything has changed - everything is something else from here on out. I'm not one to offer trite reaffirmations.

I'm not crying, though my eyes ache from resisting. I have to be strong, for her. She heaves silently. She's shivering, all her body, exhausted from mourning, heat escaping with each labored breath, I feel it warming my neck. Each arduous tear, I can feel soaking my dress shirt collar. She is in total anguish and I can do nothing but steady her, lower her as she crumbles to her knees. She nestles against me in a fetal position and draws her arms between our chests to warm them and draws a deep breath between sobs.

Now she ventures to speak. Her words are fragmented and inaudible. Sheer emotion takes over where her voice fails, she breaks down again and I am hit with a pang of agony. Those dammed tears are now gushing, my lungs heave out of sync with hers. An aching sets in, spreading throughout me, icing my bones over. My lungs offer to explode. My throat contorts, as if somehow it knows that my well-meaning words won't suffice, so it squelches them.

I want to draw her closer-crush her against me- I can't bear to see her like this. I feel as if I'll never be able to show her enough how I love her. I realized now, in this moment, that life is too short for words. Even so, she is killing me. If I can love her enough, she will stop her tortured sobbing. If I can hold her head to my chest I can smother her, no more pain. I tighten my embrace. She breathes out with a groan and I take up the slack in her ribcage. She starts to struggle but then seems to welcome it. I know she doesn't want to feel this pain anymore. She whimpers her consent and kisses my shoulder hard. I hold her even closer and kiss her head.

The wind has picked up just enough to shake the droplets from this morning's rain off of the leaves above us and it comes down in sloppy splatters on our already damp clothes and bodies.
A calm shush, uttered by the wind, swells through the lush green boughs of the trees around us as they lean in and look on.

I can feel her heart struggling for room to throb. Her belly is pulsing slightly in attempts to draw in a breath. But her lungs are steadily contracting and I feel the last bit of warm breath subside, and immediately my skin begins to cool off.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

out of the archives

don't know how old this really is... but I'm in a much better place these days.

I feel at times that there is something pulling me apart. No, scratch that - I feel that I am trapped within myself and trying to shed my outer shell. It's like an exoskeleton that no longer fits, and I no longer feel. It clings like a wet sweater, I'm suffocating. This is the sensation I get from my extreme frustration over not being where I want to be in life, and feeling as if I've done everything within my power to make it happen. I feel quashed. My world is spinning out of control. I feel like I spend the better part of my day fighting a force as distinct as gravity itself-centrifugal force that is on the verge of flinging me into oblivion. I'm aching from my efforts to maintain.

I caught myself contemplating suicide today. It was sobering, but not shocking. I became aware that I had my finger to my head, as a gun... but not to my temple because I heard somewhere, sometime, that this is a "Hollywood-style suicide"–not effective, or at least not efficient. I had my “gun” to the back of my head, at the underside of the knob where the fleshy part of my neck becomes my skull. Here I imagine would be the most direct route for a bullet to obliterate my means of perceiving myself, my existence.

My brain is my favorite part of myself, I love using it. But in the area of my brain where I dream-the part where I imagine what could be-sometimes all I can think about is the fact that I am mounted with a “red button”. My brain. My self destruct sits on my shoulders and I carry it with me into every depressing situation, and my brain is also the medium that decides what's bearable, and what drives me to my breaking point

I have somewhat of an "autopilot" mode. When I hit a degree of desperate depression my subconscious throws the switch, my senses shrink to a very concentrated field that don't pick up on much that isn't mandatory to sustain life. I hear but I don't listen, I don't see what doesn't demand my attention. My awareness becomes tunnel vision, focusing on a routine of eating when I'm hungry and sleeping when I'm drained. Autopilot sounds like such a fancy feature,- so futuristic- yet it's so primal in origin.

I get angry before I get depressed. Lots of things anger me. I may have very deep anger issues, it would trouble my friends to know the effort I put into NOT being violent. As I write this I think of instances where I wanted noting more than to “neutralize” a situation by dishing out contusions.

My feelings overwhelm me to the point that I want to vent with a primal scream. I hope that sounds healthier than allowing my discontentment to build up inside me. My insides feel contorted. Unsettled, like theres a smoldering coal in the center of them. That coal represents my emotions, I want to be able to share this glowing ember without fear of having it doused and smothered by the very girl that ignited it. I want to be able to feel empathy when my friends feel loss instead of feeling empty-helpless. I want to feel joy when they do, instead of hating the joy they find in small things that I can't even appreciate because so much more weighs on my mind. I want to feel sadness instead of just being sad, but I'm callused and scarred by the mundane day-to-day.

A blazing fever festers and boils in my mind, I feel encased with plate steel that holds in all my ideas, so I can't bring them into the light and make them reality. Writers block? yes, and so much more. my ideas are there, suffocating like me. I'm aware of them but the effort of trying to breathe life into them robs me of every ounce of energy, so I remain barely content to just live. My existence is so far removed from the influence and radiance of the sun. I feel like I've taken a dive into a mineshaft and now I lye hopeless, dreaming of reaching the daylight, remembering when I could see color, depth and texture. I could feel....

What a batch of mellow-drama, eh? I'm not looking for pity, I'm transcribing my feelings. Maybe I'm not the best at that, but it feels productive. If/when this particular bout of depression passes, and I feel that all this little routine didn't accelerate the process or alleviate my pain, or I feel that I no longer have use for it, Then I'll toss it.